ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida's Space Coast will soon be Boeing's Space and Launch headquarters.
- Boeing says Florida is "center of gravity" for its space programs
- Reasons for moving include Starliner, increased satellite launches
- COMPLETE COVERAGE: Space News | Rocket Launch Schedule
Boeing announced Wednesday it is moving its Space and Launch division headquarters from Arlington, Virginia to Titusville, Florida, near Kennedy Space Center.
It's a big step that brings the aerospace giant from our nation's capitol to the “gateway to space.”
Boeing said it's making the move for several reasons, including the upcoming launches of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner commercial spacecraft, expected increases in launch activity for its satellite programs, and work on the NASA Space Launch System Rocket, which is meant for missions to the moon and beyond.
In the announcement, Boeing said, "Florida's space community will be the center of gravity for Boeing's space programs."
"The time is right for us to locate our space headquarters where so much of our space history was made over the past six decades and where so much history awaits," said Leanne Caret, president of Boeing Defense, Space and Security.
Boeing says the move will not affect its operations in California, Texas, Alabama, Colorado, and Louisiana. The company tells us that the number of positions being moved into the existing Titusville Boeing office "will be small" and limited to leadership. The moves have begun and are expected to be done by the end of the year, a Boeing spokesperson said.
The company currently employs 2,500 people across several cities in Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said the announcement reaffirms the state's push to continue job growth.
"Florida continues to be a leader in space exploration and development, serving as the United States gateway to the stars," Rubio said in a news release. "I welcome Boeing's decision to move their Space and Launch headquarters to the Sunshine State.
"Boeing also built the top-secret X-37B, the Air Force space plane that resembles a mini shuttle thought to be used for spy missions.
The company has not said whether the move will lead to new jobs for the Space Coast.
Boeing says it's a small number of executives who will be relocating to their Titusville facility. But the symbolism of the move has local economic leaders jumping for joy.
"When you bring a 'general' a 'flag officer' to a location, that changes the landscape for the business," said Space Florida's Dale Ketcham.
The company says the time was right. Boeing's footprint dates back six decades to the dawn of the American space program.
Now that their HQ will call the Space Coast home, it brings better opportunities to invest, gain customers, and by default, attract other companies to Brevard County.
"It's going to make it that much more attractive for this to be a location where other businesses will want to gravitate," Ketcham told Spectrum News.
Lynda Weatherman, president of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, said, "Since the shuttle retirement, we have seen success in the attraction of not just launch, but manufacturing and supply chain activities. Boeing's Space and Launch Headquarters will add a new element to this diversity, putting the Space Coast one step closer to making history in space again."
Boeing will continue its work at the Kennedy Space Center. Its top secret U-S Air Force backed X-37B space plane program is based at KSC.
The CST-100 Starliner is prepping for test flights and missions to ferry crew to the International Space Station in a revamped shuttle hangar.
Plus the core rocket stages of NASA's new Space Launch System is on tap for delivery, with the goal of sending astronauts back to the moon and eventually Mars.
Twenty-five hundred Boeing employees already call Florida home. The leadership team is expected to move by year's end.